BOOK REVIEW: All That’s Left, by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

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seekers 4.jpg

Era: Post-The Original Series

Series: Seekers (#4)

Publisher: Pocket Books

Genre: Social SF

Pages: 369

Publication Date: 2015

Verdict: 4/5

An archaeological dig is the unlikely target of an unknown alien vessel. Rushing to the rescue, the crew of the Endeavour find themselves facing two puzzles. What happened to the planet’s original inhabitants, and why is this ruined civilisation now being attacked . . ?

The fourth and final volume of the Seekers series is another standalone adventure, this time focusing on the U.S.S Endeavour.  Like Long Shot, it very much feels as though it could have been a televised episode of Star Trek, and that is its greatest strength. While I don’t enjoy Ward & Dilmore’s style as much as David Mack’s, this is one of the strongest books from the pair, and it’s shame to see that there are no further books in the series. As a final outing for these characters, it has a lot in common with TOS finale ‘Turnabout Intruder,’ in that it provides a self-contained story that doesn’t feel like a conclusion to something bigger. I like that about it. In fact, I like it a lot. All That’s Left doesn’t set out to change the staus quo. It just gets to work and tells an enjoyable story of science, aliens, and spaceships.

With so few books under their belt, it’s the characters who prove a weak point in this book. Not because they are poorly developed or uninteresting, but simply because there are so many of them. The Endeavour has only been the star of the show for seven hundred or so pages (although it did of course play a role in the events of Vanguard) and with a full crew to introduce and detail in that time, we don’t really get a sense of who they are. And it’s not just one ship’s crew. In this book there is a second Federation vessel, a research team of civilian scientists, and a host of formidable aliens. It’s inevitable that some will get more page time than others, and it’s to their credit that Ward & Dilmore do as good a job as they do of holding the book’s diverse cast together.

One of the ways this book best emulates the feel of The Original Series is in it’s alien threat. There’s potential for spoilers here, so look away if that you wish. You see, the Lrondi are a classic low-budget alien. Everyone knows you can go one of three ways with Trek aliens. Rubber foreheads and noses, glowing balls of energy, or possessing members of the crew. All That’s Left goes for option three. The Lrondi are basically jellyfish that control a humanoid host, and it’s easy to imagine a human cast acting out of character as they have done so often in STar Trek history. Normally, alien possession is an unequivocally bad thing, whatever the aliens may have you believe. Stargate’s Tok’ra are an exception to this role, as are Trek‘s own Trill. But the Lrondi’s true nature had me guessing for a long while, and even at the end I’m not wholly convinced either way.

All That’s Left may not offer the most bombastic conclusion in Star Trek‘s history, but it’s a fitting send-off to a series that could have, and deserved to, go on a little longer.

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

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